At Apple's yearly WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference), the company announced two new operating system updates for its Mac and iOS devices. For Mac, there's OS X 10.10 Yosemite and for iPhones and iPads, there's iOS 8.
Apple announced a lot of exciting software features and updates. Here's everything the Cupertino-based company announced at a glance.
OS X 10.10 Yosemite
It's been over 13 years since OS X 10.0 "Cheetah" was released back in 2001, setting the stage for the Mac's resurgence. In the course of that time, the operating system has received plenty of updates with each adding more functionality and slight user interface changes.
In recent years, the success of iOS has led to the cross-pollination of some features to the Mac. Notification Center, Launchpad's grid-like app pages, and Mac App Store are some features that Apple borrowed from iOS and injected into OS X.
However, now that Jony Ive is in charge of leading software too, things are changing. OS X Yosemite, the next version of the Mac's operating system, incorporates design elements from iOS. The graphical user interface has been flattened. There's greater use of translucency, much like iOS 7. (A "dark" theme is also available as well.)
Spotlight, OS X's search has been beefed up. When you click on it, it now brings up a big search bar that's centered (as opposed to in the upper right corner). It also now taps into Internet services such as Wikipedia, Yelp and more. Spotlight isn't just for searching for stuff in your computer anymore. It's like Google; you can search for movies, restaurants nearby (integrated using Maps), and even contacts.
The Notification Center also has some neat support for widgets. Apple showed a demo by dragging a calculator widget into the menu.
Other highlights from OS X Yosemite include an updated Mail app which includes two cool features. The first is called Mail Drop, a feature that lets you send files up to 5GB to anybody without being capped with the usual 20MB limit. The second feature is called Markup — a way to edit and doodle on email attachments without ever having to leave the Mail app.
OS X Yosemite also has a new synergy feature called Continuity. AirDrop now works between iOS and Macs (finally!). Handoff lets you switch between Mac apps and continue on iPad seamlessly. Proximity awareness lets your Mac automatically create a hotspot without messy passwords. And your Mac can now act as a relay for accepting CallerID and phone calls. The ability to make phone calls from your Mac and directly from phone numbers highlighted in Safari is pretty snazzy.
Did we mention Yosemite is free for everyone with a Mac when it comes out this fall? Beta testers will get it today.
iOS 8 & Health
iOS 7 upset a lot of people. Users complained about everything. The colors were too bright. The icons were too flat. The 3D parallax motion effect and zooming icons were making people nauseous. The list goes on.
The OS lacked serious polish. Even today, there are tons of little complaints and bugs that haven't been fixed. ;iOS 8 isn't a complete OS revamp. iOS 7 already did that. Consider it a heavy dosage of polishing and tweaking.
At last, iOS 8 has interactive notifications. For instance, if you get a notification on the lockscreen, you can swipe and then respond to it. Or if you get, say, a message notification on your screen, you can swipe down on it and then start responding. No need to go to the app anymore.
Doubleclicking on your home button also brings up favorites for contacts.
Typing has improved on iPhone too. QuickType finally brings smarter predictive typing. It actually reminds us of SwiftKey a lot. And it learns based on how you type. So if you use more casual words when speaking with one person, it won't recommend "dude" for speaking with your boss unless that's how you speak to your boss. Better, you can even install you own keyboard (like Swype), something Android users have had for years.
Messages has been revamped. You can now manage group chats better, like leave a noisy thread. Tap to Talk lets you send voice messages (kinda like in apps like WhatsApp).
Health is a centralized app that brings together health-tracking metrics from third-party apps. It keeps tabs on everything so that it'll give you an overall picture of your health status.
The Photos app also now has more advanced editing controls (light and color adjustments that smartly adjust settings to enhance a photo). Best of all, photos taken and edited on one iOS device are synced to every other iOS device you own (and on the Mac in a future update).
Siri's smarter too. It now has Shazam song recognition, 22 more dictation languages and more. Family Sharing is simpler to set up and you can extend apps, videos, and music to up to six family members for free.
Apple's shooting for a fall release date for iOS 8. Beta testers will get it today.
Smart Home Automation
As we've said before, there are tons of Internet-connected smart appliances. The problem is, there isn't any kind of link between them. Apple didn't talk much about it, but it aims for the iPhone and iPad to become the "common network protocol."
HomeKit will connect locks, cameras, doors, thermostats, plugs and switches and more. It'll have secure pairing, allow individual devices to control third-party products and Siri integration.
Apple says you can do something like tell Siri "get ready for bed" and your door locks will lock and lights will dim.